So I was strolling along the walkway between Massey Hall and Hale Center today (a.k.a, the Magical Forest), when I heard a ruckus from above. I looked up just in time to see two hawks squabbling in the branches of a tall white pine. Maybe the one was an outsider from some rival campus, trying to move into the neighborhood uninvited. Whatever the reason, the stronger hawk prevailed and chased the other away, sending it flapping off across campus toward Nicholson. The victorious hawk let out a cry as if to say, “…and stay out!”
Just as this was happening, I heard a similar cry coming from behind me. I turned and looked high up into another tree to see three smaller hawks perched on a lofty branch. These must be her babies, I surmised. At that moment, I was quite happy that I was a man and not a mouse or a chipmunk. Surprisingly, it was the first time I’ve ever had such a thought.
As I stood far below, watching these three youngsters and their mother scan the ground for their next meal, I couldn’t help but wonder what they might be thinking, looking down at the campus from so high above…
Baby Hawk #1: Hey look…there’s that guy again.
Baby Hawk #2: Oh, yeah—the one that looks like Brooks Orpik. And look…I think he’s checkin’ us out.
Baby Hawk #3: Doesn’t he have anything better to do? HEY! Why don’t you take a picture, buddy? It’ll last longer!
Mama Hawk: That’s enough. Just ignore him and he’ll go away.
Baby Hawk #2: Hey…I bet you can’t…you know…hit him from here.
Baby Hawk #1: I bet I can!
Baby Hawk #3: Oh, I definitely want some of this action.
Mama Hawk: That’s enough! Nobody is going to be hitting anyone. Got it? Don’t forget the last time you tried to “hit” someone and almost got Pres. Dell’Omo instead.
Baby Hawk #1: Hey, what’s goin’ on over there? See all those construction vehicles?
Baby Hawk #3: They’re renovating some of the dorms and putting in some new sidewalks. It’s part of the first phase of the university’s Master Plan.
Baby Hawk #2: Master Plan? What you know about any Master Plan?
Baby Hawk #1: Yeah, you can’t even read.
Baby Hawk #3: Groundhog told me about it.
Baby Hawks #1 and #2: Oh.
Baby Hawk #1: By the way, where have all the students been lately?
Baby Hawk #3: It’s summertime, dummy. They won’t be back until orientation on August 20.
Baby Hawk #1: Oh, that’s right. I wish RMU offered classes for hawks. I always wanted to get into nursing.
Baby Hawk #3: Yeah right, and I always wanted to get my MBA. Gimmie a break.
Baby Hawk #2: Hey look…that guy’s leaving. Guess he got tired of staring at us. Let’s buzz him and give him a real scare!
Mama Hawk: Nobody’s going to buzz anyone. They don’t bother us, we don’t bother them.
Baby Hawk #1: Aw, com’on Ma!
Mama Hawk: You heard me. Now keep your eyes peeled for lunch. They don’t allow hawks in the Food Court, you know.
–Valentine J. Brkich